Mahaleb causes false-positive almond test results

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency the recall of cumin products that allegedly contained undeclared almond traces in March was based on false-positive lab results.

Further examination has shown that there is a cross-reactivity of the used immunological test methods with the oriental spice mahaleb. The latter is produced from the dried and ground mahaleb cherry (Prunus mahaleb).

Due to the close relationships within the Prunus genus, all available almond antibodies currently also detect other Prunus species. In case of doubt it is hence necessary to verify a positive almond result using a specific almond PCR. The molecular biological methods available at ifp are able to differentiate between almond and mahaleb.